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Scans confirm worst for Hartlett

Football

Port Adelaide defender Hamish Hartlett’s AFL season is over, after scans confirmed he had ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in a training incident.

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The 27-year-old, who had made a flying start to the 2018 campaign, will undergo a knee reconstruction in the coming days.

It is a huge blow for Port, coming off two successive defeats and already dealing with the media circus surrounding the off-field indiscretions of young midfielder Sam Powell-Pepper, who will miss tomorrow’s away encounter with the surprisingly-high-flying Kangaroos as he serves out his three-match ban for inappropriate behaviour on a drunken night out.

Power midfielder Ollie Wines told FIVEaa today Hartlett’s injury happened during “a change in direction in a regulation training drill” yesterday – a drill the running defender “would have done countless amount of times”.

“There was a quick ball movement, Hamish was in the middle of the ground and changed direction [and] his knee just buckled,” Wines said.

It’s better news for the Crows with club champion Matt Crouch back from a hamstring layoff for Adelaide’s clash with the Suns, although Rory Sloane (foot) will not return as expected.

Michael Barlow (broken leg) forces his way back into the visiting Suns side after irresistible NEAFL form, while inaugural Gold Coast player Michael Rischitelli follows teammate Aaron Hall to the emergency list in coach Stuart Dew’s second telling omission in as many weeks.

Dew believes his side has proved itself capable of sustaining the defensive intensity his game plan demands, but he knows a trip to the Adelaide Oval will provide a whole new challenge for the AFL’s youngest squad.

Both teams boast 3-2 records ahead of Saturday’s clash, after the Suns somehow held on in a frantic five-point defeat of Brisbane last weekend. But Dew knows they’ll need to be more efficient to be any chance against last season’s grand finalists.

“We took a breath (after the win); the last quarter was pretty hectic with lots to like but a lot to learn and a good game for the group to be a part of,” Dew said. 

“We’ve shown we are capable of bringing the intent we’re after.

“But when they’re on they’re really damaging … had a big win in Sydney and we’re preparing for the best.”

In an ironic twist Barlow, who’s averaged 41.5 disposals in two NEAFL games this season, is back after Darcy Macpherson fractured his lower leg in the second quarter against the Lions.

“With Darcy coming out, they’re not like for like but we think we can manufacture a different look,” Dew said.

The battles at either end of the park will be telling, with Daniel Talia likely to line up on Suns co-captain Tom Lynch and Crows skipper Taylor Walker against Rory Thompson with help from Steven May.

Lynch, sixth on the Coleman Medal tally with 14 goals, will have his work cut out after Talia kept Lance Franklin to just one goal last week.

with AAP

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